July 23rd - 29th 2022


Playing harp music from medieval Wales

Bill Taylor

60 mins

Level: All

Thursday July 28th

17:15 - 18:15 GMT +1

Support Material

Must have appropriate ticket to download support material


Event Overview

The earliest harp music from anywhere in Europe is found in a late-medieval Welsh manuscript, copied by Robert ap Huw c. 1613. Descriptions of the figuration clearly require fingernails and damping techniques, both of which are echoed in Bunting’s account of the techniques used by Ireland’s ancient harp players. The manuscript contains over thirty pieces of challenging art music, lasting from just a minute or two to over twenty minutes, similar to the length of piobaireachd, the great music of the Highland bagpipes. This class will provide an introduction to the tablature. We will learn to play some of the figures found in phrases of one of the pieces, Kaniad y Gwynn Bibydd, and will explore how the figuration can be applied to early Scottish and Irish repertoire.

Workshop handouts:

Please also download and print out a copy of Bill Taylor's booklet, Sources for Fingernail Harp Technique from Wales and Ireland

Tune your harp with B-flats and E-flats for this workshop.

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